A ritual is a ceremonial that consists of many actions performed in a specific order. Yet, these actions are frequently performed depending on a certain tribe in a country and cannot be considered innate acts (Quantz, O'Connor, & Magolda, 2011). Various modes of expression are critical to the continuation of the vital life-enhancing process. Likewise, these activities reflect the culture of the people who dwell in that place. It has also been established that rituals have an important part in increasing an individual's self-control. Religion is frequently practiced, forming a tie between a person and the community from which they come. It is further testified that these practices are ancestral and publics will often follow the actions creating an aspect of recognition from the neighboring communities. According to certain communities, these rituals act as a symbol of honor to their ancestors. Violation of these rules may then lead to neglect in the community or serve a punishment as stated by the elders of the community. This paper will discuss three different rituals from China, Japan, and India and provide a reflection on each.


Ancestor Worship (China)

The ritual is based on a belief that the deceased have a continued life and that the spirits will look after the family and also influence its fortune (Yang & Tamney, 2012). It is a practice that every Chinese adores with an objective that all ancestors have an active and continued well-being and sometimes request for special assistance. The activity is often practiced at the altar as the people present their offerings to the deceased. According to Brashier (2011), the ceremony begins at the kin's funeral where items like toothbrushes, combs, towels, computer, water, and shoes are burned as a sacrifice. The family will set up a home altar with the aim of worship and will also include photographs of the ancestor.

The ritual activities engage their participants for a lengthy period, creating a bond through the ceremony. An aspect of a rebirth is witnessed at the ceremony as people pay respect to the life of the deceased. To a certain extent, the activity is interpreted as a birthday with a marked day on a calendar (3rd March) believed to be the birth of the saint. It pulls a significant crowd from all parts of the nation to witness and participate in the ceremony. To a communal perspective, the ceremony is also held in various regions of the country like Macao, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Sydney, and Taiwan. The crowd gathered to pray and worship Huangdi and the country's rejuvenation.

Puja Ritual (India)

The act shows relevance to a god with an aspect of making a spiritual connection with the divine. According to a publication by Sashital (2011), the practice involves a creation of a bond with the divine through emotions and senses. The ritual is not performed by a person of any social class. The primary target of the participant is to attain blessings of the gods and also have a better way of life in society. No aspect of discrimination is witnessed at the venue as all participants perform the ritual with similar targets, showing respect and following their ancient culture. During the performance of the ceremony, the head of the household leads prayers to the gods. It is witnessed as the deity is offered a seat, cleaned, and given water with the obligation of making it comfortable. In the culture, the symbol is bathed, dressed, and embellished with ornaments which may then be accompanied with perfumes, flowers, and garlands before it. These activities are performed to the god as if it is physically present in front of the worshiper. The political class was not considered as a different class in society as every person followed the same procedure. Therefore, no political interests were bolstered at the ritual as the main program is to show respect to the god. However, it is stated that the Asura tribe of north Bengal accepted it as their warrior that was destroyed by Durga through deceit (Chatterjee, 2016).

Hadaka Matsuri

It is a ceremony in Japan, where the participants wear a minimum amount of cloth with the desire to demonstrate their level of manhood in the society. According to the participants, the target is to compete for a coveted prize. It is a practice often practiced in the cold as the men try to fight the freezing temperatures. One of the earliest is the Hadaka Mairi that is often held at the Komatsu Jinja in the month of January in the town of Bungo. On the third of January, the Tama Seseri festival takes place near the city of Fukuoka with two symbolic figures purified at Hakozaki Shrine. The action then moves to various towns with men competing for the ultimate prize. However, every participant is involved in the ceremony with the target of attaining good luck for the entire year. It then creates a sense that the majority of their plans will provide positive results once they complete the ritual.

Currently, the ritual is practiced with an improved level of decency on the costume that was anciently used during the ceremony. It then attracts people from various regions that wish to join the Japanese celebrations. Economically, the venues are generating income through the people that visit to learn about the Japanese history and culture. Some of the Japanese citizens are also attaining employment opportunities as they train the visitors about the culture.


According to the practices of the Hadaka Matsuri ritual, an aspect of gender bias is witnessed with no recognition of the female population during the ceremony. The female population can also enjoy the aspect of good luck. However, an inclusion of gender equality in the participation of ritual ceremonies increases an individual's faith in the religion. Nevertheless, the changes in the costume offer a sign of modernity, but maintaining the ultimate goal of participating in the ritual. Censoring certain practices control the younger generation's morality with the urge to show activities that should be performed at the scene.

However, I viewed the rituals as an outsider and maintaining a particular culture helps an individual understand the activities that were being carried out by their ancestors. Additionally, they will then have an idea of their roots and continue to the next generation. To the outside community, it provides knowledge about the various cultures and religion that we have and the best way we can interact with these classes of people. According to Mims (2013), an individual will know the existence of the society that we are living and understand the concept of change. We then end up knowing more about the events than any other person in the actual event would have known alone.

A person viewing the act from another perspective (insider) will have limited impact on the concerns of the outside environment. They often participate in the rituals with the ideology of expanding their culture to other generations. To a certain extent, the individual is eager to know more about his/her roots, paying little attention to an interpretation that may be given by an outsider. Nevertheless, improving the spiritual connection and culture creates an aspect of recognition in society that the character belongs to a particular history. It is relatively different to the publics that have no interest in participating in rituals that elaborate their ancestry.


Religious rituals are considered to be a subgroup of human right. The participants will often demonstrate the aspect of the sense of belonging and any incident of interference will spark retaliations. The paper elaborates the ideologies of the three different rituals from China, Japan, and India and provide a reflection on each. However, each ceremony presents a different aim by the participants, and an aspect of bias is generated from the outsider's view. For example, not all rituals demonstrate issues of gender equality. Similarly, it's published that the practice of the ancestral worship in ancient China offers a linkage between the ancient and the current through the family. Visiting the temple was often exercised based on an individual's social status as it was carried out in turns. It is a simple of demonstrating the personality differences in society and who are valued as the dominant group.


Brashier, K. E. (2011). Ancestral memory in early China. Cambridge: Distributed by Harvard University Press.

Chatterjee, G. (2016). Durga Puja in Bengal is a celebration as well as a political event beyond religion. First Post, 1-8.

Mims, D. C. (2013). Learning Wheels. New York: Xlibris Corporation.

Quantz, R. A., O'Connor, T., & Magolda, P. M. (2011). Rituals and student identity in education: ritual critique for a new pedagogy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Sashital, M. S. (2011). Worship: essentials for puja. Mumbai: Celestial Books.

Yang, F., & Tamney, J. B. (2012). Confucianism and spiritual traditions in modern China and beyond. Leiden: Brill.

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